With less than three days left to make a deal, the MLB trade mill is quickly coming to life. Thankfully for the Seattle Mariners, Erik Bedard is scheduled to make his first start on Friday since going on the DL with a strained left knee.
The New York Yankees are also interested, but one could pass that off as simply being for the sake of giving Boston a hard time.
In preparation, the M's have sent scouts to observe Boston's Triple-A and Double-A affiliates. Although one expects the Mariners to take whatever reasonable offer they can get, an ideal return would include 23-year-old catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway.
At age 32, Bedard is one of the players Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik would like to unload at the deadline. A major injury risk, Bedard doesn't fit into the long-term plans of the team, and Jack Z recognizes that now is the best time to get a nice return for him.
Bedard has been very effective this season, with a 3.00 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 15 starts, showing that after all the surgeries, he still possesses some of the ability that made him among baseball's best back in 2007.
Assessing the trade market, Bedard's value lies in his combination of affordability and not being mediocre.
Although he's not as good as the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez, he also won't gut your farm system. And while he may be more expensive than an Aaron Harang or Jason Marquis, Bedard is flat-out better.
The injury concern is there, but Bedard is a low-risk gamble who could turn out to be a dependable mid-rotation starter.
With an eye towards the playoffs, the Red Sox need starting pitching help, and Bedard fits what they are looking for—he has given up more than three runs only twice this season. The potential reward is enticing and cost effective for a team that sold the farm for Adrian Gonzalez.
The Yankees could potentially be in play as well, as they are always on the lookout for left-handed starters.
Jack Z would be wise to deal Bedard for a decent prospect or two by the deadline. He could even conceivably re-sign Bedard in free agency as Bedard prefers consistency and has made it clear he enjoys Seattle and would be willing to take less money than he received last offseason to stay here.
Of course, this hinges on Bedard's start on Friday at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the standard will not be too high.
As long as he doesn't get hammered or re-injured, look for the Red Sox to extend an offer for Bedard.